Filipino musician Elijah Macaranas Semine.


Filipino expat wins Dubai hunt for greatest musician


DUBAI – Filipino expatriate Elijah Macaranas Semine bested 12 contestants to win the grand finals of Barasti’s hunt for “Dubai’s greatest musician”.

Armed with his guitar, Semine moved up to grab the top spot during the month-long acoustic competition, Beam Unplugged, at Barasti’s House of Whatever.

During the finals on July 2, the 22-year-old Filipino musician beat three other finalists Abdalla Hesham, Eimaan, and The Stone Route Band, to win a residency at the popular club throughout September, as well as Dh1,000 in vouchers.

The contestants were asked to perform a song of their choice as well as their own rendition of Britney Spears’ “Oops I did it Again” – a strategic twist to the mechanics for the final aimed to test their abilities and flexibility in music style.

In an interview with, Semine expressed delight at winning his first competition in Dubai despite only doing “random practice”.

“I was hoping to win, but I didn’t know if the audience would like the performance,” he told

The most challenging part of the competition? “Showing character while performing,” he said.

When he is not holding a guitar, Semine helps behind the counter at his family’s restaurant in Deira, John Daniels, which will be expanding to a bigger location to include a stage for upcoming local musicians.

Semine said he loves indie music and looks up to Bruno Mars as his inspiration.

What’s next for him? “Hopefully I get to do more gigs and go to places,” he said. ICA/Expat Media


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